I’ve read about and talked to many writers who admit to having several completed manuscripts filed away. I used to think that was sad, even a waste of their time to having spent probably years writing something wonderful – perhaps a would-be best seller that faded away in a file drawer. Lately, I’m beginning to see the worth of enjoying the process of writing, but then avoid the trap of becoming someone else’s meal ticket.
However, I haven’t quite given up, yet. My latest manuscript, Forbidden, is anxiously waiting for its time to send shock waves into the literary world.
After researching how to write a query letter to an agent, the process of finding an agent began in earnest. There are hundreds who are in the business and work in my manuscript’s genre. That’s the good news.
The waters get a bit murky in satisfying each agent’s particular query letter format. There is no such thing as ‘one fits all’. Some even specifically point out that the order of content must be adhered to, or else. As a result, it takes a huge chunk of time to ensure I satisfy each agent’s particular demands.
As my efforts continue I’ve come across more suggestions on how to ensure your query letter is not tossed into the agent’s computer waste basket. The advice includes the warning that the agent will decide in the first seven seconds – SECONDS – if he/she will read the entire letter, never mind if the synopsis or sample chapters will get so much as a cursory glance. Furthermore, the first three paragraphs must contain specific information in a particular order. Ugh! Which is the corect method – the agent’s demands or the instructor’s?
Now I’m beginning to second guess my decision to work with an agent. Is it worth it? I’ve read the blurbs on how an agent is the ticket to an author’s success, not in only getting connected to the right publisher, but also in supporting the author’s career. Do these benefits truly trickle down to agented authors?
Yes, I’m sounding cynical. But after a few years of being drawn into paying for a variety marketing schemes, the people benefiting from my novel is everyone but yours truly. Last week I received a quote from someone interested in doing a critique of my manuscript – $1,500, apparently a great deal. Maybe so, but that would require tremendous sales before I would see any profit. And, after an agent and a publisher takes his/her cut, well ….. I better update my will, if you know what I mean.
Forbidden was a joy to write, even thrilling. As I wrote Forbidden, I also worked daily on marketing my first novel and paid a heavy price in terms of time and money. Is it all worth it? It feels a bit odd. Authors are the creators of these windows into a world of fantasy. But it appears we are the lowest rung on the ladder of appreciation and income. Authors have become a source of income for many professionals, feeding on our need to be published and hoping for sales.
Is being published worth it? Not really …. so far.
You’ll find many more articles from the IWSG at: http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.ca/p/the-insecure-writers-support-group.html
I also enjoy the IWSG blog: http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/